Party Person

Freshfields events manager Emma Rollason opens all the right doors

Everyone wants something different from their event experience, but for Emma Rollason, conference, hospitality and events ­manager at law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, this has to be taken to a new level for her guests. “We like to produce events and do things where people feel they are having privileged access that they could only get through us,” explains Rollason.
One such event was a client dinner in the Hall of Monarchs space in the Tower of London, where guests enjoyed a meal next to the crown jewels. Another example ­occurred during this year’s Rugby World Cup, when the company flew out some important clients – by private jet – to ­Marseille to watch the quarter-final games.
Rollason and her team of six have so many events to organise throughout the year that it is almost ­impossible to quantify them. However, she does admit to being responsible for between 150 and 200 conferences and meetings over a 12-month period.
To help complete these events, Rollason and the team use a preferred suppliers list that includes high-end caterers, entertainers and venues. “We have our favourite venues that we know work well and are right for us,” she says. “Sometimes we go outside of the ­suppliers list, but between the six of us we do everything in-house, apart from those occasions when we are booking hospitality ­packages through the likes of agency Keith Prowse.”
Rollason admits that the team does source venues and suppliers by using the trade press and exhibitions, and by attending events that showcase various services. “Fortunately, we all sit close to one another so we talk about venues that would be good for certain events, or ones that we will never ever use again,” she says.
One venue she really rates is the Royal Opera house, which she is using for this year’s client dinner in December. There are only four nights a year when it doesn’t have a performance, and Freshfields is going to be the only corporate client to use it exclusively.
With a role that can often be a 24-hour, seven days a week job, Rollason believes that you need to ­always pay great ­attention to detail and ensure you keep your eye on what’s happening in the industry. ­“Essentially you need to be a control freak,” she says. Lucky, then, that she loves her job

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